Q4 has very much set the scene for 2019 for hiring in the Projects and Change space. We have noted a growing number of businesses hiring resource for strategic business initiatives, as opposed to individual projects. New teams are being set up to ensure constant change within certain business areas which has resulted in some firms moving away from a centralised change function to having change roles integrated into business functions. Typically clients recruited for a range of different projects, opting for Business Analysts on a permanent basis, and Project Managers for contracts.
As a year, 2018 has been fairly mixed for Asset Management, with Hedge Funds also facing challenges. In October, three US-based hedge funds closed in the same week, which was generally attributed to a lack of optimism from investors to part with their money. Uncertainty has hit the market, dare we mention the ‘B-word’. Nevertheless, as we look into 2019 many of our clients are not stalling on the recruitment front but deciding to secure high quality candidates before their competitors.
With Mifid 2 work coming to an end there has been more budget available to allocate to other projects which may have been put on hold. Updating and upgrading systems has been a large focus of projects seeing budget increases. Additionally, many of our buy side clients have begun developing their own in house products instead of reaching out to a third party vendor.
This has resulted in integrated change and technology teams working closely alongside or within business functions. Common roles included test analysts, database engineers and a variety of developer positions as well as our traditional Business Analyst and Project Manager roles. The skillsets for these roles are evolving with the technical expertise needing to be complemented by stakeholder management and project experience.
The makeup of change teams are evolving; roles are becoming increasingly specialist at the Business Analyst level. On the permanent side, there is a focus on hiring candidates with specific system experience from the OMS or CRM side. Due to the limited pool of candidates matching the criteria, searches have become more targeted. Yet we are seeing clients willing to wait in order to secure the best permanent candidate both with the desired skillset but also the cultural fit.
On the contract side, we have seen a broad range of roles. As well as the more technical Business Analysts and Project Managers, we have also seen a high demand for Delivery Managers and Scrum Masters, as well as Business Change Managers.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation have also continued to be top business trends for Q4 and will most probably remain a key area for hiring in the coming year, with more Asset Management institutions starting to implement transformation business & process improvement projects with the view to grow their investment capability and deliver the best investment solutions to their clients.
As we move into 2019 one of the main changes we are likely to see on the job descriptions coming through is the location. More firms are keen for us to assess the European market as they grow their offices outside of London. This may be other UK locations or looking at growing their headcount on the continent. As a business we are now working with clients across multiple locations including; Paris, Luxembourg and Belgium.
We expect that the contract market will remain busy. Over the month of December there has been an increased demand for Regulatory Change Business Analysts and we predict this to continue over the coming few months due to new regulations and changes to SMCR, Brexit and AIFMD.